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The Weekend Roundup for October 18-19, 2014

By: Sunday October 19, 2014 3:14 pm

Hey folks, what are you doing today? It’s the start of a whole new week.

International Politics


- The British ambassador to Israel said the recent symbolic vote for Palestine represented a shift in public opinion

- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan refused to send U.S. aid to Kurdish rebels against the Islamic State since they consider them were terrorists as well.

Middle East

- According to a report from the United Nations, the Iraqi government executed at least 60 people this year and some of the cases are questionable

Asia and Oceania

- Journalist Michelle Chen speaks with Mung Siu Tat of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions on the latest in Hong Kong and the role capitalism is playing in the region

- Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying accused “external forces” at play in the demonstrations in the ground; Ha, that’s a good one.


- In el-Arish, Egypt, seven soldiers were killed in the Sinai pennisula by a roadside bomb and six were wounded.


- German intelligence concluded rebels in eastern Ukraine are to blame for downing Flight MH17

- The Swedish government is still looking for a Russian submarine off the coast of the country after a tip came in there was one; Russia denies a submarine of theirs experienced issues off the coast of Sweden

Surveillance Planet

- Emptywheel: “Why Isn’t FBI Investigating the Hackers Who Broke into Google’s Cables?“; Good question

- After The Guardian‘s investigation into Whisper, the CEO released a statement saying there were not “infallible” and were seeking to improve; In other words, damage control.

Financial Matters

- Thomas Frank: “Paul Krugman’s sloppy, wet kiss

- An accounting inquiry into the retailer Tesco in England found the company overstating their profits and entering into an illegal agreement with suppliers over keeping such revenue high

- Dean Baker: “The World’s Richest Man Tries to Defend Income Inequality

Labor’s a-Brewing

- With some employees considered as freelancers or sub-contractors, firms only pivot toward labor violations as neoliberalism redefines the rules

- After Uber fired an employee for tweeting an article critical of the job, a media firestorm got the employee his job back. However, this shows how protective Uber is and blocks any forms of criticism.

Politics US

Washington USA

- Part five of five with Deepa Kumar on the “fear and obedience” the U.S. teaches the public in terms of its policies

- Journalist Todd Miller joins The Real News in part one of two of this interview to discuss the strategies the Republican Party uses regarding Ebola and the immigration crisis

- The U.S. government still is doing nothing about Cliven Bundy, which will only empower right-wing militias

Anytown USA

- This week marks 48 years since the founding of the Black Panther Party and former Black Panther Eddie Conway joins The Real News to talk about its origins

- According to a leak, a grand jury may not indict officer Darren Wilson. Furthermore, Wilson told federal investigators he was scared for his life when with Michael Brown.

We Don’t Need No Education

- There are an alarming number of Millennials, from age 25 to 32, without a college degree and this holds significant consequences, not only for their future but also the future of the U.S. as well

- A new report found charter schools in Chicago, Ill., mostly did worse than public schools, despite city officials shoving the system down the public’s throats.

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

- It’s a tragic tale for the relatives of Ebola victim Thomas Duncan as they face harassment and fear from their community

- A filmmaker in Liberia said reports of deaths due to Ebola are underreported in the country

- A U.S. health official said new guidelines to be issued will be stricter than before

- The Spanish government announced the Spanish nurse diagnosed with Ebola tested negative for the virus meaning she has been cured

The Second Sex

- A new report found Mississippi as the worst state for women for a multitude of reasons including pay, government representation, and poverty rates.

Planet Earth

- Financial experts advised investors and firms at the World Bank to avoid climate change, they should not be investing in fossil fuels. Plus, it will only end up hurting their investments.

- Those who escaped from Fukushima may never return again as the contamination from the nuclear fallout is so severe; It’s really revealing how much impact all of it has on Japanese civilians

- Trade unions still are siding with fracking companies despite the plethora of information on its harmful effects on the environment as well as labor

- Based on data from satellites, deforestation of the Amazon is happening at a rapid pace in the past two months

Mixed Bag

- Richard Stallman, who made the GNU operating system, warned Cloud computing would only lead to disaster for users

- Natasha Lennard: “Google Glass Addiction Is Real Because Despair Is Real

- Living under a capitalist structure where state and non-state actors prefer the coercion is a life we cannot accept

Break Time

- Russian Lullaby [John Coltrane]

The Roundup for October 17th, 2014

By: Friday October 17, 2014 1:41 pm

Hey folks, how are you doing this evening? Tomorrow, the FDL Book Salon will have authors Jamie Kilstein and Allison Kilkenny for their new book, #Newsfail. On Sunday, author Helen Caldicott stops by to talk about her new book on nuclear energy post-Fukushima, Crisis Without End.

International Politics


- Pew: On each continent, civilians worry about one unique issue. For example, North America and Europe worry about inequality, while Asia worries about pollution.

- U.S. General Lloyd Austin said Iraq was an integral part in U.S. strategy against the Islamic State

Middle East

- Max Blumenthal: “International Community Promises to Rebuild Gaza … with Sweat Shops to Exploit Palestinian Workers

- Apparently, ISIL militants are being trained to fly jets captured from the Syrian military

- An Iraqi official invited U.S. investment in the country’s oil industry, which is interesting considering yesterday’s report on another Iraqi official praising Russian investment.

Asia and Oceania

- With more clashes reported in Hong Kong, the situation on the ground is still tense with the future unknown

- At a concert in South Korea, 16 people died after they fell through a ventilation grate


- Reporters Without Borders called for the arrest of militants who went after media personnel in Libya

- The Nigerian military announced a truce with Boko Haram, which will include all girls kidnapped earlier this year to be released.


- A Greek prosecutor recommended to a court that all MPs of Golden Dawn should be criminally tried

- Looks like a deal between Ukraine and Russia will see Russian gas sent to the former once again

Surveillance Planet

- Trevor Timm: “The government wants tech companies to give them a backdoor to your electronic life

- Lawmakers in Germany were blocked by intelligence officials in their own country when inquiring about the latter’s relationship on the NSA

- The NSA will investigate the decision former NSA official Keith Alexander made creating a private firm

Financial Matters

- Michael Hudson, an economics professor and author, joins The Real News to talk on how the volatile stock market is a microcosm for the world’s financial system

- An interview with economist Juliet Schor on consumption in modern society as well as the state of our economic system with no recovery in sight

- Janet Yellen, the head of the Federal Reserve, warned income inequality in the U.S. was a danger that must be addressed

Labor’s a-Brewing

- Michelle Chen: “Workers Bring $15 Hourly Wage Challenge to Walmart

Politics US

Washington USA

- President Barack Obama signed an executive order to tighten security on federal credit and debit cards and called for private companies to do the same.

- The federal government will recognize same-sex marriages in more states where it was legalized through the courts

Anytown USA

- A fantastic dispatch from The Real News on Westminister, Md., where they present the reality of working-class life in the community

- Michael Dunn, who killed Jordan Davis, was sentenced to life in prison by a court in Florida.

We Don’t Need No Education

- Sarah Jaffe: “The Resurgence of the Public Education Nation

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

- The U.S. response to Ebola is sub-par and reveals how our system cannot deal with this virus; Not a story, but one expert warned the Center for Disease Control and Prevention about this and was ignored.

- A nurse who handled Thomas Duncan’s lab samples in a Texas hospital is now being isolated at sea for possibly having Ebola, she’s on a cruise ship

- Race may play a factor in the mainstream narrative on Ebola, but the superstructure of capitalism distracts us from the real issues and creates a myth on Ebola.

- The World Health Organization admitted it was at fault for not handling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa properly

The Second Sex

- Gallup: While 34 percent of men in the U.S. say they are satisfied with their salary, only 28 percent of women say the same.

- Furthermore, according to another Gallup poll, 34 percent of men worldwide have a full-time job compared to 18 percent of women.

Planet Earth

- With temperatures rising, ice melts at a quicker rate. Yet, as the ice melts, the temperature increases more. Thus, it is a snowball effect.

- The U.S. government may be able to avoid Senate ratification on a climate treaty with an international deal, although it suffers from countries being their own regulator

Mixed Bag

- Journalist Steve Horn currently is trying to raise money for an investigation on the death of two women in Wisconsin by a police officer. If you can pledge to assist his work, then I’m sure he’ll appreciate it.

- GamerGate reveals how misogynists can feel empowered with anonymity using rape threats  at the expense of others

Break Time

- Sweater Weather [The Neighbourhood]

Obama Appoints Ebola Czar, Third Health Worker Isolated

By: Friday October 17, 2014 10:50 am

After the CDC had some early missteps with communication and management of the Ebola virus, President Obama announced today that Ron Klain will be the Ebola czar. Klain will be responsible for coordinating the entire federal government’s response to the Ebola outbreak and will be reporting to to the President’s Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco and the President’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice, according to a statement released by the White House. Klain previously served as Chief of Staff to Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore, though he now works at a venture capital firm, Case Holdings, and General Counsel at Revolution LLC. He has no healthcare experience or expertise.

Typically the CDC would handle a disease outbreak, but after it became clear that the CDC was unable to assure Americans that it had Ebola under control, the White House apparently felt it was time to make a change.

The change comes as news of a third health worker that treated Thomas Eric Duncan has been quarantined. The health worker, who may have been exposed to Ebola while handling Duncan’s fluid samples without proper protocols, was on a cruise outside the country of Belize. The Belize government refused to allow the health worker to leave the cruise ship, to be sent back to the United States for treatment.


The President has asked Ron Klain to take on the task of coordinating his administration’s whole of government Ebola response. He will report directly to the President’s Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco and the President National Security Advisor Susan Rice as he ensures that efforts to protect the American people by detecting, isolating and treating Ebola patients in this country are properly integrated but don’t distract from the aggressive commitment to stopping Ebola at the source in West Africa. Klain’s role is consistent with the view the President articulated in the Oval Office last night that Monaco, Rice and others have done outstanding work in confronting this challenge so far – but given their management of other national and homeland security priorities, additional bandwidth will further enhance the government’s Ebola response.

While Ebola in the United States has had a limited substantive effect with only one person dying so far, the psychological effects have been considerable especially as statements by the CDC seem to have been misleading and confused at times. Several schools that were believed to be in the area that the second nurse that has been diagnosed with Ebola traveled have been closed and the Pentagon shut down a parking lot when someone on a tour bus who claimed they traveled recently to West Africa vomited.

Some hysteria was inevitable given how both lethal the disease is and how ignorant most people are about it, but the CDC’s incompetent statements and behavior have exacerbated the public’s natural trepidation. Not that the mainstream media aren’t also doing their best to foment panic. Hopefully the new Ebola czar will at least be able to tamp down fear about Ebola, if not actually institute and enforce the protocols for treating Ebola that the CDC failed to do.

Google Now Giving More Political Contributions Than Goldman Sachs

By: Friday October 17, 2014 8:08 am

So much for Don’t Be Evil. Google has now overtaken Goldman Sachs in campaign contributions this year. Google’s PAC, NetPAC, has given $1.43 million to candidates this year compared to Goldman Sachs’ $1.4 million. While the difference may be small, the symbolism could not clearer – Silicon Valley has become a major force in legally bribing [...]

Vice President Biden’s Son Was Discharged From Navy Reserves For Cocaine, Now Is Ukraine Energy Executive

By: Friday October 17, 2014 5:50 am

Hunter Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden, was discharged from the US Navy Reserves for testing positive for cocaine according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Hunter received two waivers to enter the Naval Reserves – one for being older than a typical applicant at 43 and one for a previous [...]

The Roundup for October 16th, 2014

By: Thursday October 16, 2014 2:00 pm

Hey there folks, what are you doing today? International Politics Overall – Despite $5.4 billion raised to help Gaza rebuild, the Palestinian Authority does not expect to get half of it. Rather, it will go to Israel. Middle East – The economic platform of the Palestinian Liberation Organization is somewhat like the African National Congress [...]

Silicon Valley Meritocracy Myth Takes Another Blow As Qualified Minorities Not Hired

By: Thursday October 16, 2014 10:37 am

Silicon Valley’s image to the outside world is that most American of conceits – a meritocracy where people are rewarded for what they know not who they know. The meritocracy myth has taken a series of hits lately as major firms have disclosed that the companies are overwhelmingly owned and operated by white men with [...]

Obama Administration Wants New Fantasy Rebels In Syria

By: Thursday October 16, 2014 7:34 am

The fantasist is a hard creature to tame, if for no other reason than he or she always has somewhere outside of reality to escape to when the facts get harsh. So it is with President Obama’s self-admitted fantasy of having moderate Syrian rebel forces aligned with US interests that can alter the reality on [...]

CDC Approved Symptomatic Nurse With Ebola To Fly

By: Thursday October 16, 2014 5:42 am

ED NOTE: C-SPAN HEARING ONLINE Though the CDC said yesterday Amber Vinson should not have taken a commercial flight, it has now been revealed that Vinson – who had a “low-grade fever” at the time – asked the CDC if she should fly and was told she could. After being cleared by the CDC despite [...]

The Roundup for October 15th, 2014

By: Wednesday October 15, 2014 4:04 pm

It’s Wednesday folks. This week is just flying by quick. International Politics Overall – Despite Pentagon officials saying “several hundred” Islamic State fighters died in Kobani, Syria, a former U.S. general warned the group made significant gains in Syria and Iraq. – Russian President Vladimir Putin: The situation in Ukraine threatens global stability with international [...]

Second Health Worker Tests Positive For Ebola, Nurses Union Says There Were No Protocols

By: Wednesday October 15, 2014 10:01 am

A second US health worker has been diagnosed with Ebola. The nurse, Amber Vinson, treated Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Presbyterian Hospital. The first health care worker to be diagnosed, Nurse Nina Pham, also treated Duncan at Texas Presbyterian. That at least two health workers have been infected has raised concerns about more cases and [...]

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